The union HRD ministry under the new government as a departure from the past has clearly set an innovative agenda with small but specific initiatives. We reproduce some of what has been said in its 100 days achievement/performance statement.
CLOSING THE GENDER GAP
The Department of School Education and Literacy has supported the Ministry of Women and Child Development for roll out of “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” Abhiyan in 100 districts of the country to enhance the sex ratio and the status of the girl child. An award is being instituted from the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” Abhiyan for School Management Committees which achieve 100% transition of girls at different levels of education.The Department is committed to the provision of functional girls’ toilet in every school. A specific “Swachh Vidyalaya” campaign has been rolled out which will ensure that a functional toilet is available in every school before 15th August 2015.
UDAAN is an initiative of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to enable disadvantaged girl students and other students from SC/ST & minorities to transit from school to post-school professional education especially in Science and Math. The first flight of UDAAN is to address lower enrolment of girls in engineering colleges which is currently about 23% girls as against 77% of boys. It aims to reduce the quality gap between school education and engineering education entrance systems by focusing on the three dimensions- curriculum design, transaction and assessment. It will do this by enriching and supplementing teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics at Senior Secondary level. The CBSE will provide free and online resources to the entire student population with special incentives and support to a thousand selected disadvantaged girls per year.
UGC has formulated the scheme Swami Vivekananda Single Girl Child Scholarship for Research in Social Sciences the scheme under which 300 scholars would be provided Junior Research Fellowship @ Rs. 8,000/–10,000/- per month, and will be implemented from academic year 2014-15.
The AICTE scheme PRAGATI (Providing Assistance for Girls’ Advancement in Technical Education Initiative) envisages selection of one girl per family where family income is less than 6 lakhs / annum on merit at the qualifying examination to pursue technical education. The scheme is to be implemented by the authorised admission centre of respective State Governments. 4000 girls are expected to get benefit of scholarships available per annum. The scholarship amount is Rs. 30,000 or tuition fees or actual whichever is less and Rs. 2000 / month for ten months as contingency allowance.
For integrating over 25 lakh children with special needs enrolled in elementary education across the country in a regular classroom environment, a handbook on curricular adaptations to orient all primary school teachers across the country was developed by National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) and released by the Human Resource Minister on 26th August, 2014.
AICTE has decided to award 1000 scholarships per annum under Saksham to differently abled students to pursue technical education based on merit in the qualifying examination to pursue technical education. The scholarship amount would be Rs. 30000 or tuition fees or actual whichever is less and Rs. 2000 / month for ten months as contingency allowance.
INCENTIVES FOR NORTH-EAST STUDENTS
The UGC has launched a special scholarship Scheme for students of North East Region Ishan Uday from the academic session 2014-15. The Scheme envisages grant of 10,000 scholarships to students from North East Region whose parental income is below Rs. 4.5 lakh per annum and would be provided scholarship ranging from Rs. 3,500 to 5,000 per month for studying at under graduate level in Colleges/Universities of the country.
Ishān Vikās is a comprehensive plan to bring selected students from the school and college levels from the North-Eastern states into close contact with the IITs, NITs and IISERs during their vacation periods. A typical visit is envisaged for a period of ten days to one of these institutions, in the form of either an exposure or an Internship programme. Each school will send one teacher to accompany a group of about 32 students of class IX and X and 8 teachers. The college students would be organised in two groups in summer and in winter, consisting of 32 students each group. About 2016 college students and 504 teachers from N-E will be visiting premier Institutes, like IIT/NIT/IISERs in an academic year.
LEARNING OUTCOMES FOCUS
Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat initiative was launched on 26th August, 2014, to focus on the quality of foundational learning so that each child attains appropriate learning levels in classes I and II for reading, writing language comprehension and numeracy. Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat is a sub-component of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan(SSA) and is being rolled out by 17 States and UTs.
A Framework for School Assessment and Evaluation is being developed as a self- improvement tool for schools themselves and also to reorient school inspectors, district and block level officers to objective assessment of schools with a view to enhance their effectiveness. The programme in the field would be rolled out by January 2015.
The UGC has notified Regulations on Recognition and Monitoring of Assessment and Accrediting Agencies which would enable the UGC to register multiple agencies for undertaking accreditation of Institutions of Higher Education across the country.
BENEFITING FROM DIASPORA SCIENTISTS/SCHOLARS
The initiative Enabling Interaction of Scholars with our Students aims at creating a talent pool of eminent scientists/scholars abroad or in India to enable their interaction with Indian student/ faculty. The task of identifying such scientists/ scholars has been initiated. A database is being created with the help of eminent academic institutions so as to initiate activities from the academic year 2015.
TECHNOLOGY FOR LEARNING
Under SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) Programme Professors of centrally funded institutions like IITs, IIMs, Centrally universities will offer online courses to citizens of our country. All courses will be made available free of cost for learning. In case the learner requires a Verified Certificate, a small fee will be applicable.
In the first phase, IIT Bombay, IIT Chennai, IIT Kanpur, IIT Guwahati, University of Delhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru University, IGNOU, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, Banaras Hindu University, alone as well as with the help of faculty from foreign universities will be offering courses in areas of engineering education, social science, energy, management, basic sciences. At least one crore students are expected to benefit in 2 to 3 years through this initiative. SWAYAM will be launched in 2014.
OPEN LIBRARY SOURCES
The National E-Library has been envisaged as an online portal that will democratize access to knowledge by ensuring that quality content from central universities and premier educational institutions are available in a digital format that can be easily accessed by students, working professionals and researchers across the country through laptops, smart phones, tablets, PC’s. International collaboration has been offered by Israel, Norway, UK, UNESCO. The National E -Library becomes operational in the academic year 2015.
The National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) offers digital and digitisable resources (audio, video, interactive images and documents) in different languages along with online activities. 13,773 registered users/contributors of e -content, 71,447 unique visitors have already contributed more than 45 lakh hits on the NROER portal.
There are almost 10,500 colleges which conduct about 14000 Programs and 18000 levels in Technical Education. Programs are Engineering / Technology, Architecture, Pharmacy, Applied arts, Management and Hotel Management and Catering Technology. Levels are Diploma, Post Diploma, Graduate, Post Graduate and Ph D. Similarly, there are more than 35000 colleges conducting at least 20,000 programs and 50000 levels in the Higher education sector (Other than Technical Colleges)
A new Know your College Portal has been developed for helping a prospective student make a valued judgment of the college he / she wishes to join by providing him/her the necessary information about the same. KYC is a repository of information pertaining to colleges in India vis-à-vis faculty, labs, and infrastructure.
Work has commenced on “Shaala Darpan” to ensure that from next academic year, parents of students of Government and Government aided schools can through a mobile application access updates on their child’s progress regarding attendance, assignments, and achievements.
GIS mapping of schools at elementary as well as secondary level initiated and completed for 13 States with work underway for another 8 States. This enables mapping infrastructure gaps and responding to the felt needs of the people in providing schooling facilities.
The UGC has launched a new scheme, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Post Doctoral Fellows in Social Sciences including Languages. Under the scheme 300 fellowships would be awarded at the rate of Rs. 25,000 per month + HRA etc. for a period of 3 years to the selected Fellows.
AICTE has announced 1000 scholarships per annum to eligible candidates to pursue Ph D in CSIR / DRDO labs or other reputed institutions: Payment of scholarship is as per the Government norms for the purpose.
Quality Improvement Programme (QIP) is a program conducted by Government of India to promote research amongst the eligible teachers in AICTE approved Institutions and others and facilitate them to complete a Ph D from the best Institutions in India like the IIT’s and NIT’s or other Nationally important Institutes. This scheme is open only to regular teachers. It is proposed to offer ME/M. Tech Scholarships under QIP to 7500 scholarships for M Tech under Quality Improvement Programme (QIP) and 2500 Scholarships for PhD under QIP.
Ten goal posts have been identified and Research groups with each of eminent experts are being set up to formulate time-bound plans of action for each. The task of the Research Group is to identify the needs of the country in terms of its research and technology requirements and to enable proper planning for manpower, research infrastructure, and resources. Leading academic institutions have been identified to set the process in motion. The lead institutions would be Healthcare: IIT Kharagpur; Computer Science and ICT IIT Kharagpur; Energy: IIT Bombay; Sustainable urban design IIT Roorkee; Nano-technology hardware: IIT Bombay; Water resources and River Systems, IIT Kanpur; Advance materials. IIT Kanpur; Manufacturing IIT Madras; Defence IIT Madras; Environment Science and Climate Change IISC, Bangalore. The Research groups will be expected to share their first Report by March 2015.
The Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is coordinated by IIT Delhi. It will be launched in 2014 as a network of IITs and other academic and professional institutes to evolve appropriate technologies converging for rural development, with focus on water management, organic farming, renewable energy, frugal technology, infrastructure, rural livelihood and employment. A three day workshop on this was held in IIT Delhi on 7th September 2014.
To promote Vocational Education, Colleges have been given the power to grant certificate/diploma under the Community college scheme implemented by the UGC.
UGC has accorded sanction to 102 Community Colleges and 127 B.Voc Degree programmes entailing a financial outlay of Rs. 329 crore which would bring direct benefit to students studying in vocational programmes in these Institutions.
Council for Industry-Higher Education Collaboration (CIHEC) is being operationalised to identify initiatives to promote research, mobilize resources, develop market ready manpower, and enhance employability. As a first step to this, a task force of IIT Directors and Chairpersons has given suggestions for collaboration agenda to be discussed for implementation in the CIHEC.
19 NEW INSTITUTIONS
Five IITs: A.P, J&K, Chattisgarh, Goa, Kerala. Six IIMs: H.P. AP, Punjab, Maharashtra, Bihar, Odisha. Four New Central Universities: A.P (1 Central University & 1 Tribal University), M.P (Jai Prakash Narayan National Centre for Excellence in Humanities), Bihar (Mahatma Gandhi Central University). One IISER AP. ONE NIT, AP. N New IIIT in AP. One Tribal University, Telegana